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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Arsenal

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It was a blustery old day here in Norwich but fortunately we were safely undercover before the really wet stuff arrived. On the stroll down I asked my son if he had seen the news about the armed stand-off in Argyle Street and knowing how I like omens he said it could mean that we are going to beat or hold the Gunners today. An appealing thought but it didn''t seem likely to me. In any event, AN wrote all the names on bits of paper and drew them out of the Tombola machine, That''s what it seemed like to me with no Mulumbu or Redmond, Grabben back in from nowhere and Wes and Dorrans all starting.The first ten minutes were a non event with Arsenal hogging the ball and nothing to show for it but a low 30 yarder wide and an injury for Koscielny which saw him subbed for Gabriel. City''s best moment came when Brady''s free kick on the left beat everybody at the far post. Arsenal were finding it hard to pierce City''s back line and it was fully fifteen minutes before a slick move that ended when Bassong deflected Ozil''s low shot over the bar.The Gunners were now beginning to look quite sharp as first Giroud flicked a shot wide then Ruddy had to stand up strong and beat away Sanchez''s rising drive from twelve yards. City weren''t getting much going up front at this stage so most of the play was compressed in our half although without much in the way of dangerous moments. This changed on the half hour when City were again architects of their own downfall. Ruddy''s weak kick fell straight to an Arsenal player and biff bam boom, quick and crisp passing left Ozil clear to clip it into the far corner with the keeper in no mans land.It was disappointing but it seemed to have a positive effect on City who at last had to come forward. Wes and Graham Dorrans were starting to look lively and after a nice move, Brady cut in from the left and his shot looked goalbound until Cech flew to his left to push it away. It got even better a few minutes later as Brady again cut in and this time a neat pass into Grabban, who beat his man on the turn and tucked it underneath Cech for the equaliser. On the stroke of halftime it could have been two as this time Wisdom''s low cross from the right flashed across the face of goal only for Wes to deflect it high over the angle.So it was quite an encouraging half and at the beginning of the second City continued to press but Arsenal dealt comfortably with the danger and before long were again hogging a major portion of the possession although without any major alarms for the City rearguard apart from one high bouncing ball that caught Ruddy out before being lashed away. The crowd were finally getting into the game as Arsenal''s attacks continued to flounder on the rock that was Bennett and Bassong. Raking balls out to Wisdom and Olsson were now catching Arsenal committed too far forward and City were at last giving as good as they got. In a period of pressure with twenty minutes left City twice almost took the lead. Wes and the centre half were in close attendance as a cross came in and the deflected ball looked a certain goal until Cech somehow palmed it away at full stretch from right on the line. Then Olsson''s hard low cross was just hooked away in time with Grabban lurking.Redmond then came on for Johnny Howson and with five or six minutes left Wes and Lewis Grabban were replaced by Jerome and Vadis to great applause. It was end to end stuff now with the crowd in full voice and City looking the more likely although Arsenal still looked quick and dangerous on the break. Time eventually ran out with no further chances at either end and I don''t think anybody could argue that we weren''t full value for the point. Almost impossible to name a MOM as they all played their part but perhaps special mention for Wes, O''Neil, Wisdom and Lewis Grabban. but having said that Bassong and Bennett rarely put a foot wrong.What about the omen? Well Mrs Ricardo tells me the bloke had a knife and not a gun so I can''t say "Gunners Held". Close but no cherry.[:D]

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Good report as always Ricardo, thanks, personally i thought Brady was head and shoulders the best player on the park today, all of the back 4 were immense, and O''Neil showed as a leader.

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[quote user="Lessingham Canary"]Good report as always Ricardo, thanks, personally i thought Brady was head and shoulders the best player on the park today, all of the back 4 were immense, and O''Neil showed as a leader.[/quote]so did I but I was trying to be controversial[;)]You can cast into the swim but the fish don''t always bite.

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Hi Ricardo

Great report as always. Dont mean to be controversial but like you I thought Ruddy cleared the ball straight to an Arsenel player, but I have just seen it on Sky and although a bad kick ( wasnt meant to go to him ) the ball actually went to O''Neill who couldn''t control it.

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Thats why they call it ''Fishing'' and not ''Catching''. Sometimes they dont bite, sometimes they do, sometimes they do bite, but you miss the opportunity to land em, gut em and fillet em.

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Good report as usual - though IMO Olsson has to shoulder a fair bit of any blame for the goal, he should have cleared it but played a poor pass to Ruddy''s weaker side.

Still, it made for a marked improvement in our play - we ended up being good value for the point and possibly more.

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Thanks Ricardo very enjoyable as always.

It''s strange how the goal changed the game so much and that it does so often in football.

We seemed very defensive for the opening period and only after that goal went in did we even begin to threaten. I know the onus had then switched to being on us to score the goal but why can''t we start the game like that as well? Surely the AN master plan could not have been for that to happen- but it ended up working, the goal giving us the kick up the back side we needed and a drop of complacency in the Arsenal ranks.

It just shows how important the mentality and momentum of the team is. Had we started the game like we did after we scored we most definitely would have gotten the 3 points, so how much do you think the change in play after the goal can be attributed to us, and how much them?

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Nice read Ricardo and I agree with final conclusion...MOM for me was Wisdom who really looked a threat going forward and did his defensive duties very well.

What about Ruddy...does Rudd deserve a chance at Watford?

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Hi Ricardo,

I saw the game on TV but your report added a number of good points illustrating the extra dimension of seeing the game live.

When you play sides is crucial in this league. Sunderland is a good example and yesterday we played Arsenal at a good time.

As an aside I was pleasantly surprised at Wenger''s generous comments post match.

I think we have a top player in Robbie Brady. If we don''t stay up we will lose him and if we do he''ll probably go for a lot of money because he is a top six player. His attitude and work rate is first class. His Irish counterpart Wes, is also showing amazing stamina at 34 and proved again yesterday that he puts himself about more than most; it has been a lie, imho for previous managers to sub him as a luxury player.

Ruddy gives me the jitters but I assume AN wants him to play through his confidence issues. That said, he got a rotten back pass on his weak side. He should have put it into the Cathedral Lounge.

Wisdom has really come on and I have wanted Ryan Bennett in for some time. His recovery tackle which Sanchez limped out of underlined why.

O''Neill surprised me too. He reads the game in the political sense and you can see why AN wanted him as part of the squad at least.

Grabban got lucky. He scored and on a couple of occasions showed his best game running onto out balls but without the goal Brady made he was otherwise of little effect, perhaps he needs more game time. Potentially, he is our best bet for one up front.

I remember posting that the Newcastle game could relegate them and save us. Since then they have learned nothing whereas AN has had the guts to change. The sides who go down have the words goals against records and despite playing some top opposition since with little reward we have matured as a side, become more solid and harder to beat. We have steadily improved and yesterday was another step forward.

This is not Hughtonesque football because our full backs get forward all the time and we have balanced wingers who don''t check back and attack slowly; this is tactical football designed to get balance.

Even against the likes of Arsenal, Man City or Chelsea if you stay in the game long enough it evens out and you have a chance and we have shown that. We did this against struggling Swansea too and took our chance which a clean sheet meant was worth three points.

We now look better set up than Newcastle going forwards. We rolled up our sleeves while they patted themselves on the back. Beat Watford and we would be bang on course for survival points although we ideally need back to back wins.

The naivety was missing yesterday; this was a mature performance and despite a weak run of results on paper it represents real progress since our stuffing at Newcastle. It shows AN is learning and adapting - not set in his ways like Cautious Chris - and this is why we should stick with him because he will be a better manager even if we don''t stay up.

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[quote user="RUDOLPH HUCKER"]Hi Ricardo,

I saw the game on TV but your report added a number of good points illustrating the extra dimension of seeing the game live.

When you play sides is crucial in this league. Sunderland is a good example and yesterday we played Arsenal at a good time.

As an aside I was pleasantly surprised at Wenger''s generous comments post match.

I think we have a top player in Robbie Brady. If we don''t stay up we will lose him and if we do he''ll probably go for a lot of money because he is a top six player. His attitude and work rate is first class. His Irish counterpart Wes, is also showing amazing stamina at 34 and proved again yesterday that he puts himself about more than most; it has been a lie, imho for previous managers to sub him as a luxury player.

Ruddy gives me the jitters but I assume AN wants him to play through his confidence issues. That said, he got a rotten back pass on his weak side. He should have put it into the Cathedral Lounge.

Wisdom has really come on and I have wanted Ryan Bennett in for some time. His recovery tackle which Sanchez limped out of underlined why.

O''Neill surprised me too. He reads the game in the political sense and you can see why AN wanted him as part of the squad at least.

Grabban got lucky. He scored and on a couple of occasions showed his best game running onto out balls but without the goal Brady made he was otherwise of little effect, perhaps he needs more game time. Potentially, he is our best bet for one up front.

I remember posting that the Newcastle game could relegate them and save us. Since then they have learned nothing whereas AN has had the guts to change. The sides who go down have the words goals against records and despite playing some top opposition since with little reward we have matured as a side, become more solid and harder to beat. We have steadily improved and yesterday was another step forward.

This is not Hughtonesque football because our full backs get forward all the time and we have balanced wingers who don''t check back and attack slowly; this is tactical football designed to get balance.

Even against the likes of Arsenal, Man City or Chelsea if you stay in the game long enough it evens out and you have a chance and we have shown that. We did this against struggling Swansea too and took our chance which a clean sheet meant was worth three points.

We now look better set up than Newcastle going forwards. We rolled up our sleeves while they patted themselves on the back. Beat Watford and we would be bang on course for survival points although we ideally need back to back wins.

The naivety was missing yesterday; this was a mature performance and despite a weak run of results on paper it represents real progress since our stuffing at Newcastle. It shows AN is learning and adapting - not set in his ways like Cautious Chris - and this is why we should stick with him because he will be a better manager even if we don''t stay up.[/quote]A good post. Yesterday also showed that, by the standards of a club with our limited resources, we have decent squad depth (Martin, Mulumbu, Odjidja-Ofoe, Jerome, Mbokani and Redmond all on the bench) and variety, so Neil can switch tactics between and during games. With the players arriving in January as a result of what should be for us a record winter spending spree we have a good chance of staying up.

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